Learn All About the Law that Would Allow Recreational Cannabis in Costa Rica

    Clubs and cafeterias dedicated to marijuana would be enabled, while personal possession will be a maximum of 30 grams

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    Companies that grow or industrialize cannabis for recreational purposes may operate under the free zone regime; however, they will be required to pay the special tax on profits, which will be calculated at 1% of net income.

    Likewise, the consumers of the plant will be able to go to clubs, cafeterias and dispensaries to buy and enjoy the products derived from the bush, as long as the Legislative Assembly approves the plan presented last week by President Rodrigo Chaves.

    The initiative also establishes a maximum of 30 grams for personal consumption, at the same time, which would allow a limit of six bushes as self-cultivation, since otherwise, it would be considered as a commercial activity and therefore, a violation of the law if there is no sanitary and cultivation permit.

    A new world of benefits and opportunities for the country

    If Costa Rica decriminalizes recreational cannabis, it will have access to “a new world of benefits and opportunities for the country,” according to businessmen and experts consulted.

    More tourists, a new source of income for the State, greater foreign investment and the generation of new jobs are some of the positive elements that would emerge from this criminal law reform.

    Likewise, medicines with high concentrations of THC would be available to countless patients with diseases such as cancer, lupus, arthritis and other ailments.

    And it is that the recreational cannabis industry has a world market that would range between $15 billion and $20 billion a year, according to Roy Thompson, president of the Council of Hemp and Cannabis of Costa Rica.

    Lucrative business

    “In the United States, recreational cannabis is allowed in several states, as well as in Canada, in the same way in Europe several countries have made this decision. On the other hand, marijuana is present in practically every country in the world, albeit illegally, not now, but for centuries. By this the recreational cannabis market is something like $15 billion to $20 billion a year,” Thompson said.

    The proposal sent by the government to the legislative current also prohibits consumption for minors, as well as the possibility of being involved in the industry through a job. On the other hand, the producers will have to prove the legal origin of the material they use in the production and sale.

    “With the approval of this project, it is intended to regulate the activities and it will be possible to control the payment of taxes, generating in turn greater employment opportunities with new businesses for Costa Ricans. On the other hand, consumers will be able to acquire marijuana safely, without exposing themselves to violence, to drug trafficking,” said Rodrigo Chaves.

    Proposal Summary

    The government of Rodrigo Chaves presented last week a proposal to Congress to decriminalize the production, planting and commercialization of Cannabis for recreational purposes.

    Here are some of the main points:

    • Minors may not consume or buy cannabis; likewise, they are prohibited from working in the industry
    • Licenses: The Ministry of Health will grant operating permits to produce, collect, distribute, industrialize and sell psychoactive cannabis, while the MAG will grant licenses for cultivation for commercial purposes.
    • Cannabis clubs and cafeterias: The creation of specialized sites is authorized, where customers can consume products derived from the plant. It is not clear if smoking will be allowed in cafes, while in clubs it would be possible
    • Possession and personal consumption: Possession of 30 grams of marijuana for personal consumption is allowed. After that amount it will be considered that it has commercial purposes
    • Self-cultivation: It is allowed, as long as there are no more than six plants per house
    • Smoking ban: Applies to practically all public places, in addition to workplaces.
    • It is expressly prohibited in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and other non-specialized entertainment centers, as well as in sports activities
    • Legal origin and non-harmful raw material: Producers will have to prove the legal origin of the material they use in production and sale
    • Inspection: The IAFA and the MAG may carry out inspections to determine that all permits are 100% complete, as well as to guarantee legal origin.
    • Cost of licenses: Rates will be defined by decree via study. The idea is that the cost is progressive, according to the size of the operation
    • Free zone: It is possible that the industry is considered under this regime, but they must still pay the special tax on profits, which will be 1% on net income.

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